Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Giver - Lois Lowry

For the longest time, I have been wracking my brain to remember what I had read by Lois Lowry as a child. The Giver was published in 1993, when I was 14, when I had moved on to adult novels. I definitely would not have been caught reading a "children's" book during those early teen years. Same goes with Number the Stars (I was 11 when it was published, but never read it). Finally, I stumbled across her website, and looked at her book list.


Anastasia Krupnik!!!

Before the Newbery awards, National Jewish Book Award, Sidney Taylor Award, and a gazillion other awards and recognitions, there was Anastasia Krupnik. I had completely forgotten about this delightful series that came out in the 1980's, and I am delighted to recall one of my childhood favorites from the realm of foggy memories. Yay! Can you tell how excited I am?

Ok, now that that's out of my system (stay tuned for future re-reads of the Anastasia series), I can move on to my review of The Giver.

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Country: America
Year: 1993
Rating: A
Pages: 179 pgs.

First sentence: It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.

Short Summary: Jonas lives in a world where everything is perfect and under control. When Jonas is twelve, he is singled out in his community to receive special training from the Receiver of Memories. The Receiver is the only person in the whole community that holds the memories of true pleasure and pain. Now it is Jonas' turn.

Was this a challenge book? I read this book for the BookAwards Challenge. It is the 1993 winner of the Newbery Award.

What did I think? **This might contain small spoilers**
The Giver is a though-provoking book for people of all ages. It is interesting to think about what it would be like to live in a community like Jonas': never experiencing pain, to always be content, yet having no knowledge that life could be any different. A life where you have no chocie, everything is assigned to you, including your career, spouse, and children. Where there is no true concept of feelings (or colors!). I particularly like that the ending is left ambiguous. It certainly gives the reader a lot to think about.

"Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated sense of beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds."
- Interview with Lois Lowry


Jeane said...

Hey! I used to read Anastasia Krupnik when I was a kid, too. I haven't thought of it for years until you reminded me. Didn't even recognize it as same author as "Giver"

Booklogged said...

I love The Giver. Did you know there are 2 companion books - Gathering Blue and Messenger. They are good, too.

Joy said...

I read this book, years and years ago, after my kids read it and raved about it. Very good, indeed. I haven't read the companion books yet, but definitely want to.

Nyssaneala said...

jeane - I hadn't realized it was the same author, either, until I saw it on her website!

booklogged - I just looked those up, I didn't know they were connected to The Giver! That's interesting--I wonder how old the interview was that I saw with Lois Lowry where she says that she does not plan on continuing The Giver's storyline. Hmm. I wonder what changed her mind?

joy - I think I will check out the companion books some day, too.

Lauren said...

I remember reading this in grade school but couldn't quite remember what it was about. I should go back and re-read it :)

Sharon L. Holland said...

I loved the Anastasia Krupnik books. I still remember my favorite part: when she refused to live in a house unless it had a tower.

But The Giver just depressed me. I know it was well-written and everything, but it still depressed me.

Nyssaneala said...

lauren - I think it's just as good for adults!

veronica - I actually found the ending quite encouraging. But it was depressing to think of living in that kind of controlled community.

Dewey said...

Like you, I moved on to adult books fairly young, so that when I looked at the Newbery award list for the challenge, I was surprised to note that nearly all the Newbery books I've read were read as an adult. It's funny to think that maybe my adult interest in kidlit and YA novels is because I missed so much in those genres when it was age appropriate.

Nyssaneala said...

dewey -
It's funny to think that maybe my adult interest in kidlit and YA novels is because I missed so much in those genres when it was age appropriate.

I never thought of it that way, it makes perfect sense!

Anonymous said...

this is an awsome book for all ages. it will leave you in suspence after every chapter.

Anonymous said...

OMG, this book is the best book I've ever read, and i read this in my 6th grade class with my teacher and other classmates. I cannot believe how much this book made me think!!!

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